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Overall Handling / Specific handling issues

The X-Pro1 is in general a delightfully straightforward and intuitive camera to use. The combination of physical dials for exposure parameters, customisable Fn button, and on-screen Q menu for setting other functions means that pretty well all everything you need to access is at your fingertips.

The back of the X-Pro1 positively bristles with controls, but there's still sufficient blank space to provide a positive grip for your thumb. The controls are also well-arranged so that the exposure compensation dial, rear dial, four-way controller, and the Q and AE-L buttons can all be easily reached without having to shift your grip.

If we have a criticism, it's that the three buttons arranged down the left hand side of the X-Pro1 are relatively inaccessible with the camera to your eye, as you have to shift your left hand from its natural position supporting the lens and operating the aperture and focus rings. This means that moving the active autofocus point around the frame is somewhat slow and awkward - the temptation is to stick to the central AF point instead. This is a pity, as the X-Pro1's ability to use an off-center focus point in its optical viewfinder should be a unique advantage.

The X-Pro1's rear controls also feel somewhat under-utilised. The thumb dial does nothing at all directly during normal shooting - we'd love to be able to allocate it to change ISO. The dedication of the left/right keys of the 4-way controller to fine-tuning shutter speed means that they also are inactive in aperture priority mode (which we suspect many X-Pro1 owners will use most of the time) - it would be great to be able to use the controller directly to reposition the AF point (like on many SLRs).

Auto ISO Limitations

The X-Pro1 offers Auto ISO behaviour that's much more similar to Fujifilm's zoom compacts than to the X100. In its favour, Auto ISO can be accessed directly from the Fn button or Q menu, rather then being hidden in the menus. Sadly, though, it has a number of limitations that means that it goes from being extremely useful to highly flawed:

  • The maximum ISO available is 3200 - you can't access anything higher
  • Auto ISO is available in M mode, but doesn't honour exposure compensation
  • The camera always uses a minimum shutter speed of 1/[1.5 x focal length], i.e. 1/90 sec with the 60mm F2.4, 1/52sec with the 35mm F1.4, and 1/30sec with the 18mm F2.

The last of these is the biggest problem. It's based on the old '1/focal length' rule of thumb for getting sharp hand-held shots without obvious blur due to camera shake, but this really isn't sufficient with modern high-resolution sensors in the absence of any form of image stabilization. This is particularly problematic when using the rear screen for framing, which requires an inherently less stable shooting stance than the eye-level viewfinder.

This example was shot using the XF 60mm F2.4 Macro at F5.6; the Auto ISO program chose 1/90sec, ISO 400. The image is in-focus, but diagonal streaks on the highlights are a tell-tale sign of camera shake, and overall the image is unacceptably blurred. It would have looked much better if the camera had used a faster shutter speed and higher ISO.

As a result, we find that Auto ISO delivers more slightly-shaken shots than is really acceptable, simply because it always uses a shutter speed that's not quite fast enough. Likewise it's not well-suited for moving subjects, which are likely to end up blurred. We'd much prefer to be able to specify a minimum shutter speed like on the X100, or better still have the option of biasing Auto ISO towards higher shutter speeds while still taking the focal length of the lens into account (an approach that Pentax has used for years).

You can sort-of get around this by setting both your shutter speed and aperture manually. Auto ISO is still available, but because the exposure compensation dial is now inactive, you can't control the brightness of your image so have to rely on the camera's metering. (It's also worth noting that Fujifilm's lens roadmap suggests that upcoming zooms will include optical image stabilization, which should negate blurring due to camera shake.)

Other operational issues and quirks

The X-Pro1's firmware is clearly based on the X100's, and inherits a few of that camera's remaining glitches. There aren't all that many left, but there are still a few that can catch the unwary user. Here's a short list of some to look out for:

  • Autoexposure lock doesn't just lock the exposure, it locks the exposure values. For example, if you press AE-L with the aperture set to F4, then turning the aperture ring to F8 has no effect - the camera still insists on using F4. Likewise, turning a dial has no effect when the shutter is half-pressed. This behaviour makes no sense on a camera with analogue dials.
  • The live histogram doesn't work properly in manual exposure mode (it always represents a 'correctly metered' exposure regardless of your settings).
  • Changing the drive mode to one of the 'unconventional' bracketing options - DR, ISO, or Film Simulation - disables RAW file recording without warning.
  • Both program shift and manual focus count control operations beyond their limits, which have to be undone before the camera will respond again.

Manual focus problems

With its rangefinder-inspired looks and prominent manual focus rings on each lens, you might expect the X-Pro1 to be an excellent camera for manual focus work. Unfortunately this isn't the case at all - due to a combination of hardware and firmware issues, manual focus is instead decidedly problematic, to the point of being almost unusable.

In principle, the X-Pro1 offers three different methods of working when the focus mode switch is set to M. You can use the AF-L button as a 'one shot' autofocus acquisition, use the viewfinder distance display for scale or zone focusing, or used magnified manual focus with the EVF or LCD. Unfortunately all three methods are flawed, to a greater or lesser extent:

  • When using the AF-L button, the camera provides no visual confirmation of focus (i.e. the focus box doesn't light up green), and doesn't show the corrected AF frame in the optical finder either. So you don't know for sure whether the camera has achieved focus or simply given up, or precisely what it's focused on.
  • When using the distance scale, the indicated depth of field is far too conservative to be usable for zone focusing.
  • In normal live view operation, the aperture stops down uncontrollably (presumably to regulate the light reaching the sensor), even in the magnified focus check view. This makes critical manual focus impossible in bright light, as the depth of field at the viewing aperture can be much greater than at the taking aperture. In turn, this means that the subject can look in-focus in the viewfinder when it will be out-of-focus in the final image.

This is shown below, using manual focus in the center of the frame. The lens was set to F2.8 but the X-Pro1 stopped down further for focusing, which means that the resultant image is out-of-focus despite looking perfectly sharp in magnified live view. And this is just an illustrative example in not-particularly-bright light.

XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro @ F2.8 100% crop

To be honest, we find this unforgiveable an camera that lays claim to the 'Pro' label. Photographers know full well that lenses should be focused with the aperture wide open, so it's inexplicable that manufacturers sell cameras that don't open the aperture properly in manual focus mode (and it's not just Fujifilm; Olympus and Pentax have the exactly the same problem with their mirrorless offerings). Tellingly, the X-Pro1 doesn't autofocus with the aperture stopped-down like this; instead it uses the taking aperture or larger.

A further problem is that Fujifilm's implementation of 'focus by wire' simply isn't very refined, and is a far cry from state-of-the-art implementations from the likes of Panasonic. The lenses' manual focus rings don't feel very responsive, and require multiple full turns to cover the focus range. This makes focusing slow and awkward, which is a particular problem with the 60mm F2.4 lens for macro shooting.

All of this is compounded by the fact that the camera also registers any rotation of the focus ring beyond infinity, and requires it to be reversed before the focus groups will move again. This is worst with the 35mm lens, and means you can reach a point where rotating the focus ring through 90 degrees and back has absolutely no effect. Again, this isn't really acceptable on a 'Pro' camera.

Manual focus workaround

As it happens, it's entirely possible to force the X-Pro1 to give a magnified live view display at the taking aperture, using the Fn button to activate DOF preview. Here's how you do it:

  1. Set to Fn 'Preview Depth of Field'
  2. Set lens to maximum aperture
  3. Press Fn to engage DOF preview (OVF will switch over to EVF)
  4. Press-in rear dial to magnify live view
  5. Focus
  6. Half-press shutter to return to normal viewing
  7. Set lens to taking aperture and and shoot

The effectiveness of this approach can be seen below, compared to the example above. Forcing the lens wide open has enabled accurate manual focus.

XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro @ F2.8 100% crop

This works absolutely fine, even shooting wide open in bright sunlight, which begs the question as to why the camera can't just open the aperture up for manual focusing automatically. As a workaround, though, it's clumsy and really shouldn't be necessary. We can't see any reason why the camera can't just set the aperture correctly the moment it detects the manual focus ring is being turned.

Hope for the future?

While we've identified certain flaws with the X-Pro1, it would be remiss not to mention the good work Fujifilm has done in providing firmware updates for the X100 that have transformed it from a quirky, buggy, infuriating camera to an excellent photographic tool. This commitment to updating and improving products, sometimes adding new functionality in the process, can only be applauded.

Fujifilm has already issued updates for the X-Pro1 to mitigate the 'aperture chatter' problem that annoyed early buyers, and provide improved functionality for users of adapted manual focus lenses. We've every reason to believe that the company will continue listening to users and reviewers alike, and improve the X-Pro1 based on the feedback it receives.

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Total comments: 18

I was looking at getting the X-E2 second hand on E-bay, but with X-Pro2 coming soon the X-Pro1, brand new, with two beautiful prime lenses and the gorgeous full leather case is available at a no-brainer price of £649 in the UK.
My wife bought me this unbeatable package as a present for our 30th anniversary! What a wife? (love you so much Fee X).

The camera IQ is amazing, handling is fantastic, build quality is superb, (not a plastic part in sight, more than can be said for a comparatively priced CanNikon DSLR). I take it everywhere with me, it's small light and always at hand.
If like me you don't have the time or the money to buy an X-pro2 and if you don't just want the latest, buy what is still, (for me at least) the greatest camera bargain going. My advice is grab one before it's gone!


I've spotted this incredible 2 lens offer here in the UK as well. Very tempting, but the 28mm f2.8 would be a nothing focal length for me, too close to the 18mm. Fortunately, I found a mint outfit from a London Leica dealer whom I've dealt with before so I know the quality of his used equipment, and this kit comprises of the f2/18mm and the very desirable f1.4/35mm.

David Smith - Photographer

Well, I guess it's an early christmas for me this year. Today I'll receive my (like new with warranty) 2015 Fuji X-Pro 1 body. The price is insanely low for such a nice camera. It really is. I'm sure it will be a nice complement to my X-E2.

Yes, better camera models are coming at the end of this year. Possibly with a new higher resolution sensor, faster autofocus and more features. I'll get my hands on that stuff in a year or two, when everybody dumps it, like they dump the X-Pro 1 bodies now. Man I love capitalism.

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting

Looking to get an X-Pro1 for christmas and really happy to see that all relevant flaws seem to have been eradicated by Fuji's firmware updates. Yes!

1 upvote
David Smith - Photographer

Well, I can tell you right now that you've got something nice to look forward to photominion. I just bought my X-Pro 1 and my first impression is very good. It makes the X-E2 feel like a toy and using the 27mm I haven't really found any difference in focus speed. Not sure what the fuss is about. It's not lightning quick. None of the Fuji cameras are. Focussing speed certainly is adequate and again, I don't see a difference in speed compared to the X-E2. It does take a little longer for the X-Pro 1 to write the file to the SD card. Since both cameras are about the same price, I recommend the X-Pro 1 if you don't need every bit of extra speed and if you prefer to hold a slightly bigger and noticeably better build camera.

1 upvote

I am a rather new member and I must say that the few dopey questions I have asked have usually been answered with great information and a lack of sarcasm and judgement. They were not dopey on purpose. If anyone would like to visit the images in my portfolio you will at least know that I am not just obsessed with cameras but sing them to shoot, share, publish et. So without further ado, just purchased a new Fuji X Pro1 and bam I read the rumor page and it says Fuji X Pro2 verified rumor will be introduced this year. Besides offering the advice, "just shut up and shoot', What would you do? Is this even the right spot to leave my qesriom

1 upvote

Don't worry too much about it.I also just bought the X Pro 1,well aware of the rumors. It's all about IQ right?I can assure you,you wont be disappointed! Far away from it.And I really wonder whether the IQ(mind you, IQ!)will be very different from this one.
All else, yes for sure.

1 upvote
Don Sata

It will take you a bit of effort getting used to the AF of this camera but it's very engaging to use, the VF is great and images are great too.

If you don't shoot action (like sports, pets or running children) you will be ok.

1 upvote

I bought an X-Pro1 a week or so ago - I've got a use for it (I wanted a compact 50 that's not too demanding) and they can be had new for £350 in the UK! Happy days. No doubt a new flagship X-Pro2 will be announced soon, but it'll be a very expensive camera, presumably sitting above the X-T1 in the range.


Fujifilm has fixed most of the reported issues (like slow AF) with incremental updates. I got a chance to review it recently


What is the seemingly insurmountable problem with studying a traditional 35mm film rangefinder and re-engineering it into an equally capable digital rangefinder instead of trying to re-invent the wheel? The idea that you cannot accurately use manual focus is absurd. The whole focusing by wire thing is absurd. Again, why is everyone trying to re-invent the wheel?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting

things what you are asking do exist and they are called Leica.

paul simon king

looking at these RAW examples the fuji x Pro looks softer nad less saturated than the Fuji X100s

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
Dave Chilvers

After using one for a while and with the latest firmware I find the camera to be quite superb. Lets face it, most of us are looking for IQ firstly and has been said in the review lenses like the 35 1.4 are second to none in my book.


I just purchased a used X-_pro1 like new in box and I am very curious about the firmware updates that seem to address its previous shortcomings. Should I ask the seller about these because I am naive and no nothing about these on her camera is it a simple fix to update the firmware Your recommendation I don't even know the latest and best ones. or are they available fre e or can they be user updated. and again what is the latest firm ware and how would you perceive this as situation.


The latest firmware update as of May 2015 is version 3.4 and can be downloaded from Fuji's website for free. Also check to see if your lenses are also up to date.


Firstly I really would like to thank almost everyone for the generous and non combative input. So as long as I am curious about one further issue, any gracious input will be devoured with great enjoyment. Some lenses, whether short, medium or full on zooms have O.I.S and some don't. So any other advice on gaining sharpness and stability that works well for you, hardware wise , please let me know because I am well aware of the great impact shutter speed and stillness etc. have. And please take a moment to take a look at my gallery just so you understand that it is images and not equipment I am really hungry for. Thanks in advance, and yeah thanks Light Catcher LT for the real corn on the cob. "things what you are asking do exist and they are called Leica..Really??

1 upvote

OIS helps when the shutter speed gets below 1/60.

Use as wide an aperture as possible and push the ISO up to 6400.

Brace the camera against your face with your left hand under the lens to steady it. A thumb-grip, like the Lensmate, helps as well.

Set the camera to continuous low and learn to fire off two or three shots. many times one will be sharper than the other.

After that, just practice being as smooth as possible while gently pressing the shutter release, I find a screw-in soft release button helps. Also, use a faster SD card like the Sandisk Extreme Pro 95 Mb/s.

1 upvote
Total comments: 18